Posted 2/18/2015 12:02 AM (GMT -7)
I just wanted to take a moment to share my anxiety experience in hopes that maybe someone is experiencing the same, and to open the door to get to know each other.
This in particular is the past year and a half, a little less. It has been the worst case of anxiety in my life thus far. It started with a terrible job I had when I moved here and was unemployed for a month and desperate. I'm a chef, and I worked with an executive chef that beat me down emotionally. I mean, that's pretty typical of chefs but I was fresh out of culinary school and it was only my second job in a professional kitchen. It was bad, so bad that I had a panic attack during a busy dinner shift that resulted in a phone call to my dad telling him about the huge mistake I made moving to Chicago and feeling like I was losing my mind.
Since then, I got a new job. A job that I love with people I knew and although I still had anxiety, it was only here and there and it always subsided when I got to work. I would get really nervous in social situations or going somewhere unfamiliar. A year later I was breaking down boxes at work and it hit me. A huge wave of panic rushed over me like a heat wave. My surroundings felt unfamiliar, I felt uncomfortable in my own skin and my mind would not shut off.
It was bad. This is when I experienced depersonalization for the first time. No matter what I did I couldn't stop questioning everything. Who am I, what am i, am I real, is anything real. Very existential and scary thoughts that put me in a tailspin of never ending thoughts. Anxiety was my life, unless I was sleeping I was anxious. I was tired all the time, I wouldnt eat, I stayed home and I feared getting on the train to go to work because it triggered panic instantly.
I've come a long way since then. I started seeing a therapist and I went head first into finding out how to get rid of my anxiety and DP. I read books, joined forums, talked to my bosses about it and wrote everything in my journal. Not having to hide from it was such an important part of my recovery. I didn't have to feel ashamed, and I was surprised how many people experienced the same thing.
Then I started getting better. I didn't get panic attacks, I had an appetite, I went places that were out of my comfort zone and I felt like I was making huge progress. Then my recovery turned south and I was in a constant state of dp. Still am really, but I don't feel anxiety nearly as much as I used to. My heart skips a beat everytime I get on the train, but I can handle it. I started seeing a new therapist, I've changed my diet and I get out more. And finally I'm headed in the right direction again.
It's a process, it really truly is. If you feel like you're going backwards, just know that it's how the recovery process works. You don't usually just get better one day and then stay better, you have to change your mindset and with every setback you have a stronger urge to push forward because maybe you knew how it felt to be anxiety free for a moment, or a day, week or maybe even a month. It doesn't matter, progress is progress no matter what form it comes in.
We've all felt hopeless, trapped, buried so deep in our thoughts that we thought we could never make our way to the surface. But I am here to tell you that you can, and if you want it enough you will. Don't stop fighting, embrace your life and refuse to let such a silly thing like anxiety take away another moment. This is your life, this is all you get and I'll be darned if I'm on my deathbed thinking about how I lived my entire life in fear. That's not living. What happens happens, and it's up to you to take control. There is not a single person on this planet that cannot overcome this, that is a fact.
You are the only one holding you back.
Sorry that was so long, but it's something I would have needed to hear 6 months ago. I keep you all in my prayers every night and hope that you find your way to the surface, because it's beautiful up there.